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The Leatherneck is a 1929 American silent drama film directed by Howard Higgin. At the 2nd Academy Awards in 1930, Elliott J. Clawson was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay).[1][2] Prints of the film exist in the archives of the Library of Congress and at George Eastman House.[3][4]

The Leatherneck
Original film poster
Directed byHoward Higgin
Written byElliott J. Clawson
John W. Krafft
StarringWilliam Boyd
CinematographyJohn J. Mescall
Distributed byPathé Exchange
Release date
  • February 24, 1929 (1929-02-24)
Running time
65 minutes
CountryUnited States



In the 1920s three U.S. Marines who have deserted return to their base in Tientsin, China; one is dead, one is insane and one is court martialed. On the witness stand he relates their story from the end of World War I. Following the Armistice with Germany Pvt Calhoun temporarily frees a German Prisoner of War named Schmidt to go drinking with him. In the bar another Marine, Pvt Hanlon refuses to drink with a German; their brawl escalates into a fight with the Military Police where the three become friends. The German eventually migrates to the United States where he enlists in the Marines.

The three Marines reunite in Vladivostok during the Siberian Intervention. The three meet a family of White Russians who have been impoverished by the Russian Revolution whose only source of wealth is a potash mine the family owns in Manchuria. The three Marines also meet an American mercenary named Captain Heckla who attempts to recruit the Marines in a scheme to trick the Russian father out of his mine and share the wealth. The Marines beat Heckla up with one of the Marines marrying the White Russian's daughter Tanya.

Heckla gets his revenge by leading a group of revolutionaries who execute several citizens of the town including the father and his son with Heckla tricking Tanya into coming with him. When Schmidt and Hanlon discover Heckla has taken over the mine they desert to investigate before telling Calhoun. Calhoun also deserts to go after Heckla and rescue Tanya.



  1. ^ "The 2nd Academy Awards (1930) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  2. ^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:The Leatherneck
  3. ^ "The Leatherneck". American Silent Feature Film Survival Database. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  4. ^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress, p.101 c.1978 by The American Film Institute Retrieved February 4, 2015

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